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Rediff.com  » Sports » Shooting star Manu's rise from the boxing ring to a golden double

Shooting star Manu's rise from the boxing ring to a golden double

March 06, 2018 11:35 IST

For someone who took to shooting just a little over two years ago, winning two gold medals at a global event of this magnitude would easily qualify as some achievement.

India's Manu Bhaker (centre) on the podium after winning a gold medal at ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday 

IMAGE: India's Manu Bhaker (centre) on the podium after winning a gold medal at ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday. Photograph: Khelo India/Twitter

The sensational Manu Bhaker, all of 16, shot her way to a second successive gold medal in a mixed team event as India consolidated their position at the top in the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico.

 

Partnering Om Prakash Mitharval, the Indian teenager clinched the 10m air pistol mixed team title, a day after she won the women’s 10m air pistol individual gold on what is turning out to be a memorable senior World Cup debut.

The teenager could be the youngest ever to win senior World Cup gold medals for India though the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) could not confirm.

Also, the duo of Deepak Kumar and Mehuli Ghosh won the country its sixth medal of the competition -- a bronze in the 10m air rifle mixed team event.

Deepak and Mehuli, competing as India 2, shot 435.1 in the five-team final, finished behind the Romanian pair of Alin Moldoveanu and Laura-Georgeta Coman, who shot 498.4 for silver.

China’s Xu Hong and Chen Keduo won Gold in a world record score of 502.0.

But it was Bhaker, the girl from Jhajjar, Haryana, who stunned the shooting world with a second successive gold in as many days.

16-year-old Manu Bhaker has won a place at the 2018 Youth Olympics

IMAGE: 16-year-old Manu Bhaker has won a place at the 2018 Youth Olympics. Photograph: Olympic Gold Quest/Twitter

For someone who took to shooting just a little over two years ago, winning two gold medals at a global event of this magnitude would easily qualify as some achievement.

Shooting happened to her by chance after a brush with contact sports (boxing, martial arts) and Bhaker has already stamped her class in the tournaments she competed in.

Asked about her penchant for winning medals with record-breaking feats, the unassuming pistol shooter said, "It just happens. I don’t think about them. At times I don’t even know what the records are."

"I am grateful to all my coaches for their advice and the hours they have put in to hone my technique," Manu added.

Last December, she won the 10m air pistol event, outclassing the highly-experienced Heena Sidhu at the 61st National Shooting Championship in Thiruvanthapuram where she broke Heena’s long-standing national record.

She won a staggering 15 medals, including nine gold, during the tournament.

Bhaker’s tryst with shooting began when her father took her to the range and asked her to try her hand at the sport. She fired a few shots that found the centre of the target and the rest is history. 

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